_RAGE's blog

By _RAGE, 7 weeks ago, In English

Hello everybody,

I am going to start university this year, and there isn't much time to think more about what I should study.

I have applied for a couple of universities, one in which I'll study CS and another in which I'll study medicine,

But it is really hard to make my final decision.

I am not really interested in the subject I'll study but I'm more interested in the job opportunities after I graduate.

So, here's the case:

Most people (including doctors) I asked in my country told me that working as a doctor in a hospital has a very very high salary. I asked about everything concerning medicine and I guess I know what I need to know.

But for CS, it is known that there aren't big tech companies here so if I want to work in IT field I'll have to work abroad in some major tech company to get that salary. But after looking on the Internet I found out that in average someone works in companies like Google, Facebook, etc.. around 2-3 years.

I don't know what to do or if the things I found are even true in the first place, and there aren't a lot (very very few) of people here who have experience in big IT companies, so I thought that CodeForces would be the best place to ask about this, since there are a lot of people who have such experience.

So the question now is for people who work/ed in tech companies.

What is your opinion about this?

You really don't work more than a few years in a single company?

Is the job comfortable in general or you're under pressure all the time?

In general, what are the advantages and disadvantages that would deserve to be mentioned?

BTW I have IOI bronze, APIO bronze, and IMO HM, so I guess this can help me more in an IT job.

Any help is appreciated

Thanks! :)

 
 
 
 
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7 weeks ago, # |
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Hi buddy... I don't know what you should do, but realize it... you can work on a IT job or any company if you'll study medicine or CS, but you can't work as a doctor if you'll study CS...

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7 weeks ago, # |
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Do you like chemistry/biology?

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7 weeks ago, # |
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I also had this dilemma this year. I can't really answer what you should do, but i'd recommend studying medicine then switching if you think its not for you. If you start studying medicine and switch its gonna be 1 year wasted or 2 and you're not really losing out, but if you go cs and wanna go med its gonna be hard because you're gonna study like 7 or 6 more years so in total you would lose out on tons of time. I chose medicine personally. I wish you the best luck in choosing. I have only APIO bronze tho.

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7 weeks ago, # |
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Let me give you a purely American perspective. In my opinion, CS is superior not because software engineers make more (in fact, surgeons in in-demand fields are paid much higher on average), but because you enter the workforce significantly earlier with much less debt and are therefore able to acquire a lot more wealth.

Here are some numbers: An entry-level software engineer at a top company typically makes 150-200k. Within a few years, you can make up to 300-400k. Now, a talented heart surgeon at a prestigious hospital can command a much higher salary (500k+). But, consider the context behind these salaries. While a software engineer only really needs a bachelor's degree, a doctor needs a bachelor's degree, a medical degree (4 years), and another 5+ years of low-paying residency. So doctors are entering the workforce a decade later, with ~500k more in debt. Also note that getting rid of that debt is not as easy as it looks because if you're getting paid 500k per year, the US government is gonna knock you down to 300k after the income tax alone.

This is without considering the lifestyle of each career. Heart surgeons are paid more than any other type of worker precisely because their work is so challenging and filled with pressure. I know that you're probably thinking to yourself, "I'm willing to grind, I don't care about how much work it takes, I want to make the most money!" That's a great mentality, but just think about what it means to do 12-hour+ operations on a person's heart, week in and week out. No matter how tough you are, it's gonna be challenging to do that into your 50s. Meanwhile, even at the most difficult software companies, you're not gonna be under nearly that much pressure, and can instead retire extremely comfortably in your 50s with all the money you've accrued over your career. Of course, you could choose a medical career less challenging than being a surgeon, for example being a family doctor, but at that point, you'll probably make less than you would in CS.

The answer I've given comes with a lot of caveats. The biggest one is that it disregards the difficulty of finding work in the United States (which is where you'll make the most) as an international student. As a natural-born American, I can't really speak to how this would affect either career, though I do know that virtually all companies will ask if you need to be sponsored for a work visa and if you say yes it will probably make it more difficult to get a job (and if the employer is largely a government contractor, like SpaceX, you can forget about it altogether). Assuming you don't have an American citizenship, I would ask someone in your own country about how this will affect your career because it could be a big deal.

Overall, I'd say your best bet is CS. Especially with your IOI and IMO awards, you'll be a strong candidate for most companies. That said, it's important you talk about this with someone from your own country who knows more about your individual circumstances because again, my perspective is one of an American who wants to live and work in America, and your circumstances might be different.

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7 weeks ago, # |
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Hi Nicola,

I follow you from the beginning of your journey in CP, I see how you do something very special in our country you are the first and only man until now who get master and medals in IOI, APIO and highest performance in IMO (you do this before the university as in our country we start learning programming in university). you are our hero and a lot of student trying to do what are you do.

Nicola tell me about the idea to take one year gap to participate another time in IOI to try get silver medal as he very interesting and love what he do in CP.

So I encouraged him about CS as CP is a part of it, and how we can create a very good team to participate in ACM, reaching ICPC and a very high chance to win our region. University that will contain this team hasn't contain medicine so I prefer to go for CS as you are not going medicine because you are interesting or something about your dream you are just follow what you hear from somebody or searching to read about people you don't know what the background coming from. When comparing about money, it's not a worth it at the end, you can get the same money from CP with years you are working before graduated as doctor and we will not get the enough time to practice for CP if you go for medicine.

I would to see you in the first team reaching ICPC from our country and finally it's your choice good luck Nicola you are the best.

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7 weeks ago, # |
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Seems like you are very bright and you'll be good either way. But as someone with a medical degree, I can just say what made me give it all up and start from scratch with CS :)

  • Medicine is a very conservative field, and it requires so much more time to prove that 'your code works'.
  • Medicine is much less precise. Some statistical tricks, big pharma-dictated research, and so on. You never stand on a solid ground, so to say.
  • When you decide to move to another country, that could be a huuuge problem. Diploma might require recognition, local language proficiency is a must as well, and you are expected to obey 'the way of doing things' that varies highly from country to country.
  • On the other hand, medical degree is handy like, daily. You see what's going wrong and you can avoid dependence on busy medical oracles.

As I heard lately in MIT lectures on machine learning in medicine, medicine is generally very reluctant to tech and changes. There is also an unthinkable fight going on : for medical data needed for research — pharma buy medical data so that they can continue their reign, while good forces like IBM can sometimes afford to buy a bit of data so that CS guys can get something to do their research on. Medical software is full with viruses for a reason — they do not update it for decades. It's urgency time all the time: people die, understandably hospital workers have no time to push buttons; filling in stuff to electronic systems can eat precious time, it's kind of an emergency all day long: sorting patients according to who's more likely to die and help them. Moral rollercoaster, not for everyone for sure. No github profile showcasing your work, but you can save lives for real, or make mistakes and thus harm and kill.

Sorry for this rant, but I hope it gives some insights on how medicine would fit in your case.

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7 weeks ago, # |
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Do you live in palestine?, i think you will make more money with CS if you can work remotely or move to another country. If you study medicine then it's very likely that the degree will not be valid in the US (the only place where doctors earn a lot more than IT), since they have to study a lot more than in any other country. Also i think it's a waste going to IMO and IOI and then becoming a medical doctor.

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7 weeks ago, # |
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But after looking on the Internet I found out that in average someone works in companies like Google, Facebook, etc.. around 2-3 years

right, that's not because of bad working conditions or something. It's just a typical career path in IT (up to a certain level of course). Spend a year in one company as a junior developer, then apply to another company as a middle developer with x2 salary, rinse, repeat. Also, MANGA companies look good in your CV but your actual tasks in such companies can be just boring.

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7 weeks ago, # |
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There are many programmers that make much more money than the doctors, Also as people said I suggest you to apply in another country for studying if possible, and also imo it's a waste of time to do hard work in CP and study medicine.

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7 weeks ago, # |
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I worked as SWE (software engineer) at both Google and Facebook (in total I've worked in 5 different companies in last 8 years), and now at a trading firm.

You really don't work more than a few years in a single company?

For me, the reasons are:

  • Salary increased much more when switching companies (in two occasions, I got +50% and 3x, which is impossible if you stay in one company).
  • In G and FB, I work in a remote office (Singapore), so projects here are too easy and boring to me. (If you want to do interesting work, you have to go to bigger offices like US, London, etc). When I switch companies at least I learn new things (either for interviewing or in my new job).

However, there are many people who stay at the company for long time. I know many people who joined Google at the same time or before me (6 years ago) and are still at Google.

Is the job comfortable in general or you're under pressure all the time?

6+ years ago my boss told me I need to stay at the office for longer time. I just quit and joined Google. During your career many people will ask you to work more and put pressure on you — you either suffer or bold enough to say no.

In general I feel my job is too easy so it's hard to stay motivated. Many times I question why I am wasting my life like this.

In general, what are the advantages and disadvantages that would deserve to be mentioned?

Advantage is obviously SWE make lots of money — much more than doctor in my opinion (and the job is much easier). Just look at https://www.levels.fyi/ and see how much people are making (of course it depends on location).

Disadvantages:

  • You already know, but you need to move to some specific countries to have good salary / interesting work
  • SWE at big tech requires soft skill. When applying job it means being able to describe your thoughts and communicate well — so not all competitive programmers pass interviews at big tech. When working it means you need to work well with other people and some bullshit politics if you want to get promoted.
  • In last decade, tech has grow a lot, so that's why salary are high. This won't last forever, so by the time you graduate maybe your salary will be low. Doctors don't have this issue.
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7 weeks ago, # |
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hi buddy :)) i really recommend medicine good luck

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7 weeks ago, # |
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good luck Nicola

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7 weeks ago, # |
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Although I am not falling under "worked in FAANG" notion, still I'd suggest you to choose your route by considering other things apart from money as well (not saying you shouldn't consider a salary too).

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7 weeks ago, # |
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Of course it depends on the country you will live, but from all I know in Europe it is simpler to earn a lot of money in IT than anything else.

Also, in most countries it is common to work a lot of hours as a doctor, compared to standard office times for IT people.

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7 weeks ago, # |
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whatever your final decision is, I wish you the best of luck

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7 weeks ago, # |
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If there are no good companies where you are, than considering whether you want t move or not is also important. In your home country you can speak your native language, speak to people similar with you, hang out with your school friends and be close to your parents. However, given where you're from I could imagine moving abroad might be a better choice. In that regard having your diploma recognized is way easier in CS than medicine. I know a guy who was a veterinary in Serbia and had to retake half of his exams when he arrive to the US running from war (granted it was a long time ago, and things might have changed) and in the end he became a truck driver (which was quite well payed though, but probably not the most intellectually stimulating). In CS even if they don't recognize your University, you could still show them that you know what they much easier.

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7 weeks ago, # |
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I think looking at the salaried isn't relevant. I do agree that you need some minimal amount of money to have a comfortable life, but beyond that, money is not what is going to make you happy (studies have actually shown that beyond a certain salary which is not that high, just enough to live, salary is not correlated to happiness). What will make you happy though, is spending your time doing something you love, something you're passionate about. Other than the interest in both jobs, you also need to take into account the fact that medicine is going to be longer studies, and it's usually longer hours. But those things can be totally balanced by the fact that you may be happier as a doctor. Think about what you want in life, think about what will make you the happiest. Both professions will make you very comfortable financially, you can take that out of the equation in my opinion.

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    7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    Though if salary is higher you can make enough money to live without working faster. And so sooner start doing only things you enjoy.

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7 weeks ago, # |
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Hey ! Its totally upto you to decide. CS and medicine would earn similar in the longer run taking the variables of time and life standard. The most important thing is what interests you most.

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7 weeks ago, # |
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I have a bronze in Iran National OI (INOI) and studying Biomedical Engineering (BioMechanics)

average someone works in companies like Google, Facebook, etc.. around 2-3 years.

This is because they prefer to become entrepreneurs instead.

I love BioMedicalEngineering, Here, Someone with programming skills is really usefull, On the other hand I study CS (maybe more than BioEng) and plan to become a free software developer to satisfy my passion.